Boxing


Tarver & Santiago / Forrest & Piccirillo Conference Call Transcript

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will present an extraordinary tripleheader as its season finale when IBO light heavyweight champion Antonio "Magic Man'' Tarver defends against Danny Santiago, Vernon Forrest risks his WBA 154-pound crown against former IBF welterweight kingpin Michele Piccirillo and Nonito Donaire, fresh off his knockout victory over previously undefeated Vic Darchinyan in the Upset of the year, makes the initial defense of his IBF flyweight belt against mandatory challenger Luis Maldonado..

Promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, the three scheduled 12-round fights will be televised live from Foxwoods Resort Casino, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast.)

Tickets, priced at $250, $150, $125, $100 and $75, are on sale and can be purchased at www.foxwoods.com or by calling (800) 200-2882.

QUESTION: Antonio, what are your thoughts on fighting on SHOWTIME December 1st?

TARVER: I'm very excited to be back on SHOWTIME, the leader in boxing. And I'm thrilled to death that they're in the Antonio Tarver business.

I know what's expected of me every time I box. Being a professional at this game is real tough. I just want to put an exclamation mark behind what we do. I respect every fighter. I know each and every time a person has to go through the training camp you make sacrifices and the commitment to be a champion. It is more than just winning that belt in the ring. It is the work that you do outside the ring when no one's watching.

I respect everybody. Danny Santiago is coming. Undoubtedly it's a chance of a lifetime for him, and I know everybody gets up for me. Because when he beat me, you know, they're victorious. They become famous and have an opportunity to become rich. So it's what we all work for.

I've got to be at my best at all times. Right now I understand that this is the final chapter of my illustrious career. You know I want to go out on top, and I want to go out with a bang.

I still hear critics, so that's motivation in itself. I'm under a microscope every time I go out. Just winning is not enough for me for some reason. I've got to go out and do the dramatic, so there is a lot of added pressure.

I'm back home now in Tampa with my old trainer, Jimmy Williams. I have a great team that's helped me prepare for anyone, not just Danny Santiago, but anybody. Danny Green, we were ready for him.

Whoever shows up on December 1st, we're going to be ready to seek and destroy. That's my mission. I want to just give SHOWTIME the type of fight that they're accustomed to.

That allows the fans to keep coming back for more, so I'm going to end this year with a bang.

QUESTION: Danny, what are your thoughts on fighting Antonio Tarver Saturday, December 1st on SHOWTIME?

SANTIAGO: I'd like to say it's an honor and privilege to be fighting on SHOWTIME. I definitely think it's one of the best boxing programs on TV. I love watching it. I'm a subscriber.

It's been a dream my whole life to fight Antonio. I've been following him my whole life. I've been living in Florida since I was like 16, 17 years old in Ocala, Fla., which is just a stone's throwaway from where he's from. He's achieved a lot of things in his career

I'm training really hard myself, just as I know he's training hard like he's always done.

And like he said, I'm looking to make a name for myself. I'm looking to keep a roof over my head. I'm looking to go down in the history books as well. It's a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity, and I'm definitely getting up for it.

All jokes aside, I'm training real hard with my coach, Pat Burns and Joey Burns. Just like Antonio went back to Tampa, I came back to Ocala, Fla., back to my roots over here. I've been with the good old boys running down the streets, running down dirt roads, just training real hard.

This opportunity may never come around again, so this is a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity, and I'm going to take advantage of it.

QUESTION: You had a hard tough fight on SHOWTIME back in June, can you tell us a little about that fight?

TARVER: I'm still in dismay people think I had a hard time. I don't think I had a hard time. I think I came out blazing. I picked it up and shut the guy out. It wasn't a hard fight for me.

My facial expression never changed in the fight. I was comfortable doing what I was doing. The guy never landed no real shot.

I didn't see myself leaving that fight swollen. I didn't have any puffy eyes, no busted lips. What did the guy do? When I get on the ropes, I'm dressing down defense. Just because a guy's throwing punches doesn't mean he's landing shots. Just because a guy's coming forward, doesn't mean he's not getting beat.

I don't understand what these people ‑‑ how they judge boxing. I don't understand the criteria for judging a boxing match. They don't understand the ring generalship. They don't understand the sophisticated boxing that I do. And the name of the game is to hit and not be hit.

I've got to knock people out, I understand that. Every chance they get they are trying to steal something from me. That's the chip I have on my shoulders.

So forget it. The hell with the judges. It's ridiculous. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that I finish a guy inside the distance. A guy goes 12‑rounds with me, they give him a victory. They think he's accomplished something.

QUESTION: How's your weight? I know you had a little problem with weight coming back.

TARVER: I've never missed weigh‑in. I've never missed a weigh in. So my weight has never been a concern.

QUESTION: But did you have a difficulty getting back there?

TARVER: I mean, it's hard work all the time. It's nothing new, it's the same thing. I've been in this game a long, long time. I've never failed to make weight. And I won't fail to make weight this time. I'm doing it healthy, comfortably like I've always done it.

QUESTION: Being that you are kind of big, are you considering the day that you might be a cruiser weight?

TARVER: I've never considered that. I'm the best light heavyweight in the world. This is my weight. Even in the amateurs, 178 pounds was the weight limit. So I've had to cut three pounds. I've done it my entire career. I don't have a problem making weight.

I'm not saying it's the easiest thing, but this is what the game is. Boxing isn't easy. You can't pick to be a boxer, you can't say I want to be a boxer. Boxing has to choose you. And God has given me a unique gift and talent, and I'm going to do it until I can't do it any more. When I'm no longer the best, I'll step away from the game. Right now I don't have a problem making weight.

QUESTION: Are you watching with any interest the possibility of a Hopkins‑Calzaghe fight, and if that comes to pass would you be interested?

TARVER: As far as I'm concerned, Hopkins doesn't sell tickets. Everybody in the world knows that. He's not a fan favorite. Nobody wants to see his dirty tactics and his boring fights. You understand me?

He's got one win over me. I never showed up for the fight. Everybody knew I was a shell of myself for whatever reason. Maybe I was just over-trained, poisoning or the weight issue, I don't care. The bottom line is he's never been in the ring with the "Magic Man," he knows that.

He's going to live off my name and my credibility. You understand me? Because I did something he wasn't able to do. And God bless him. But the winner has to come see me. It doesn't make a difference to me.

I'm going to be on top, I'm going to win on December 1st. I'm going to win in April. I'm going to win in the fall. Bottom line is I'm not losing any more. Whoever wins is going to have to come see me, bar none.

QUESTION: I take that as a yes that you're very interested?

TARVER: I'm not interested in anything. Whoever wins is going to have to come see me. I'm look to go make the best fights on SHOWTIME, that's it. The bigger, the better. That's my objective.

QUESTION: You mentioned earlier that this is the final chapter of your career. What do you actually want to accomplish in what will be the last several fights in your career at this point?

TARVER: Don't listen to the naysayers. I want to accomplish like I did before ‑ I went them to choke on their words. I want them to suffer and come up for air when it's all said and done.

They're going to have to speak it loud and clear, that the "Magic Man" was by far one of the best. And when they look back at it, it's going to be un-doubtable. They can't doubt it. You know what I mean?

I've got one mark on my record. Hopkins is the only one that got a victory over me. He isn't crazy enough to give me a rematch and try it again.

If I retired today or tomorrow, and Hopkins is the only man to defeat me without coming back and redeeming myself, then I didn't do so bad. They never gave me credit for anything anyway. They never thought I would make it this far. I'm not looking for any handouts, I'm not looking for any sympathy. You know what I mean?

I know what I've got to do. I've got to dominate and knock people out. That's what I plan on doing. That's what I'm training to do.

QUESTION: Do you feel almost a necessity to get a knockout in this fight?

TARVER: No, the only necessity is that is the only way to guarantee victory. I beat Glen Johnson, they gave it to him. I had to come back and defeat him. I beat Roy Jones the first time, they didn't give it to me, I had to come back and knock him out. This is what I have to go through as a professional boxer. It's ridiculous. But I can't control who they put around the ring. All I can do is hope and pray that they have knowledgeable, experienced, worthy judges that are going to call the fight like it is.

I can't have a somewhat close fight. It doesn't work for Antonio Tarver. I don't know why, but I just can't win by wing. I've got to do something far greater than just win. You go back to my amateur days, it's the same way.

QUESTION: Can you say what went wrong with you in the Hopkins fight and how you've adjusted since then?

TARVER: I don't know what went wrong. Maybe my mind went dead, maybe I was distracted. But people told me they looked at my eyes even in the dressing room and they knew something was wrong. I don't know. I've thought about a lot of things.

I've never been any time, anywhere, that lethargic, that lifeless, and that flat in a fight. You have to think that something was more than just mentally or physically wrong with me. You know what I'm saying? I did the work, I was in great shape. You can look at the pre-fight weigh in. I felt real good. I wasn't dry, I was strong. So to go in that ring and fall flat like that, of course I think about it a lot of times what happened, actually. Because there was no way in hell Hopkins outclassed me. There was no way in hell that this guy is that much superior to me. That's bullshit. Everybody knows that. If it was just that one bad day that I had, then I can live with that. I've always corrected my bad days by coming back, dominating or knocking somebody out. For those people out there that really want to sweep me under the rug, forget about it. It isn't happening.

QUESTION: It sounds like you're hinting that somebody may have done something to you in that fight, the Hopkins fight, is that what you're saying?

TARVER: Somebody took my soul out my body, and placed it in the room (laughing). I don't know what happened that night. I trained hard. My sparring partner can attest to that. We were ready. And for some reason I had no life in my eyes, no emotion, no spirit. I don't know what happened.

But it's spilled milk. It has nothing to do with December 1st. Hopkins, let him live on and get all the things he can do and accomplish by living off my name and credibility. Let him get that. If he's ever man enough to step back in the ring with me, I'll show the world what it really is. Like I've always done, it's not a secret.

But I don't think Hopkins is that crazy. He's a smarter man than that. He's going to fight Calzaghe win, lose or draw. Then he's checking out. That's what you call his get out pass.

You saw his fight with Winky Wright, the fight with me. I don't think he sells tickets. I don't think he's and exciting fighter to watch. He's not a fan friendly fighter. That is the way it is.

If I fought Hopkins it would be to erase the one 'L' on my record. It wouldn't be for anything else.

Well, what does Hopkins have? The Ring Magazine that says he's the champion? He doesn't have a belt. What are they fighting, a 12‑round fight? The same way he fought with Winky. He didn't put a belt on the line with Winky Wright. So whatever.

They want to call the IBO a trinket? It was good enough for Lennox Lewis to carry, Roy Jones and myself. So I'm representing the IBO. I feel like I'm the besting light heavyweight out there, and that will be revealed starting with Danny Santiago on December 1.

QUESTION: So if you have your way, what is the big fight for you?

TARVER: They're all big fights. I want to prove I'm the best fighter in the light heavyweight division, whether that means beating Hopkins, Calzaghe, Chad Dawson or anybody out there. Their time is coming. Clint Woods, Glen Johnson. You know, Larry Jones. The winner of that fight, it doesn't matter. I want to make the biggest fights available and bring them to SHOWTIME, that's it.

QUESTION: What fight do you think would best determine that you're the best lightweight out there?

TARVER: Of course if I fought Hopkins again it would be a no‑brainer. But I'm not one for Hopkins or none of that. I feel Hopkins came off two defeats against Jermain Taylor, two defeats. I was a fair enough businessman to give this guy a 50‑50 opportunity. It's never been about money with me.

A lot of people make every decision based on money, you understand me? I fought that fight because I thought it would be a great fight for the people. I wanted to do something no one else has done. With Hopkins that is KO him in the distance.

I'm going to have to put myself in position that if he's fortunate enough to win against Calzaghe, if he wants to continue in boxing, then I'm the only fighter for him.

I have to continue to win, and look good, and be dominant until it is enticing enough for him to come back to the table in a 50‑50 deal. I didn't owe Hopkins anything. I didn't have to give him anything coming off two losses.

But I was a man about it, I gave the guy a fair deal. And for me to do that, and for him to now feel like he got something over on me is ridiculous. That's not good business.

QUESTION: Why do you think the second time would be different?

TARVER: It's always been different. You know well that wasn't me in that ring. You know it. Of all the things I've ever done in boxing, you knew something was wrong with me. Everybody knew something was wrong with me coming into that fight, and I don't have to justify that.

QUESTION: What do you think was wrong?

TARVER: I can't put my finger on it. But I know it wasn't me in that ring, that's all I can say. That's it. They say sometimes people just have bad days. And if that's the case, then that's what it was.

Emotionally, spiritually, and physically, I wasn't there. For Hopkins to win a 12‑round decision when he should have killed me that night, that shows I have the heart of a champion, and I should have finished that fight.

You've never seen Antonio Tarver stop inside the distance. You've never seen no joker dominate me, cut me up, swell me. You've never seen that. They want to say I'm washed up because of that? They've got to be kidding.

QUESTION: What was your reaction when you got the call you'd be fighting Antonio Tarver for the title?

SANTIAGO: My reaction was pure joy. Antonio Tarver, everybody knows his achievements. He's beaten everybody. He's been to the Olympics. I followed him my whole life. And for me to get an opportunity to fight the best, that's what everybody dreams about.

He's one of the Top 5 in the light heavyweight division. Where he ranks among that, that's for the professionals and the writers to discuss.

I know my whole life this is what I've been working for. It's an opportunity. It's an opportunity to make my life different. An opportunity to make my family's life different. What better name and better person to go up against than Antonio Tarver? We're both Florida guys.

I'm born and raised in the Bronx, but I consider myself a Florida guy. I've wanted to fight him since I was an amateur, but it never turned out. He probably never knew who I was until a couple years ago. The fact is, I knew who he was, and he was one of the guys I wanted to fight.

So this is just something I've been wanting for a very long time. When the phone rang, I didn't hesitate. I absolutely screamed out loud and was happy.

QUESTION: Even though Antonio says he doesn't overlook any opponent, do you think he's overlooking you and underestimating you?

SANTIAGO: No, to be totally honest with you, I followed him his whole career. I know he gets up for every fight. I've trained in Vero Beach. I've seen him around places. I've always kept my distance because I'm a laid‑back type of person. I don't bother anybody and I do my own thing.

But I know he's gearing up. He knows I'm coming to bring my A‑plus game, not my A‑game, but my A‑plus game. He trains hard because he knows everybody's gunning for him. On December 1st, I'm the one that's gunning for him.

QUESTION: What did you get out of watching the Muriqi fight with Tarver? Have you ever fought anybody style-wise or size-wise that compared to Antonio?

SANTIAGO: I thought it was a good fight. I thought Antonio did win the fight. I was a little surprised it went the distance, but at the same time like Antonio said, people get up for him. People find a way to go. To run, to train hard, to do extra sit‑ups.

I fought Muriqi at the Garden and knocked him out in the fourth round. But styles make fights you know what I mean? When he was training for Antonio Tarver, he probably trained harder, who the hell knows.

I'm so excited. I can't wait for December 1. My whole life since I was 17 and moved to Florida, I've seen Antonio Tarver on the card. I was a novice, he was an open fighter, you know and I just always wanted to fight him. And on December 1, I'm going to get that wish come true.

QUESTION: Is it possible you were drugged for that fight and that's why you performed so poorly? Poisoned?

TARVER: I wouldn't put that out interest, anything is a possible. But it felt like something went terribly wrong. And for me not to be able to do the things I can do in my sleep naturally, you know it says a lot. But I can't put my finger on it.

I have no proof of what could have happened.

QUESTION: Do you consider the possibility that you're 38 years old, and it is the inevitability of aging, or has that not even entered your mind?

TARVER: It hasn't even entered my mind. I'm sparring with young guys, strong guys. I'm still good, and I'm getting better. That is the name of the game. I'm getting better.

I don't know Muriqi. I didn't go in there saying, okay, because this guy hasn't accomplished the things I have, that I have to go in here and knock a guy out. I never even go in a fight looking for the knockout, it just happens.

For anybody to say that was a close fight, it's mind‑boggling. You tell me after the fourth round that this guy was even in the fight, I beg to differ. That's my take.

I don't care about this guy throwing punches. I'm one of the best defensive fighters in the game. You don't look like this after all the years I spent in the game without being one of the best defensive fighters in the game. Just because somebody's landing body shots where you hear it throughout the whole audience, and they're hitting my elbow and I'm catching the punch, don't mean he's landing a body shot. That is the bottom line.

If this guy hit me at all, I wouldn't have looked the way I looked after the fight. I'm human, I swell, okay. So that fight wasn't close at all. I boxed his head off. When I wanted to mix it up, I mixed it up and hit this guy with punishing shots. This guy didn't hurt me or touch me with any significant blow.

So like I said, I know my game of boxing is very sophisticated. You understand me? And for the common Joe to recognize what's going on right in front of his face, I don't expect that.

QUESTION: Could you understand, perhaps, that when you speak like this that some people could interpret it as insulting?

TARVER: I'm not trying to be insulting. I'm just expressing myself to you. I'm not saying it's insulting. I don't even look like I'm working hard. Maybe I need to start grunting and making sounds and all these faces for people to feel like I'm really working hard.

But when you make it look so easy, they think you're not putting out and that's not the case. I like to stay cool, calm and relaxed under any type of pressure situation. That is the way I was taught.

I just I know my style is different. But you've got to look at my defensive prowess in the ring. You've got to look at this guy, make a guy miss. I'll let a guy punch just to make him miss, and show the judges this guy's not landing scoring blows, then I'll do my thing. Tactically I would do my thing.

But I can't educate all these judges. You know the credence whether it comes down to judging a fight, okay, aggressive jabbing, aggressive boxing, defense. They give some points for aggression. But sometimes aggression can be misinterpreted when a guy is not landing shots. Just because you have your backs on the ropes doesn't mean you're not being effective.

So my whole thing is this ‑ maybe we need to rewrite the way judges judge fights. Or maybe they need to get some younger people that can see differently. That can see. You give a guy, 60, 70 years old, you can't expect them to be as quick‑whitted as a younger judge. That's not going to happen.

Since you're mentioning age, okay. Maybe there needs to be an age limit on some of the judges. Maybe they need to get their eyes checked before they get in the ring. Can they see 20/20?

I'm not saying all judges, but every tight fight I've ever been in has gone the other way against me. Every tight fight. Even when you look back at the Reggie Johnson fight. That fight wasn't close at all. But some judge had it even.

I've come up with the amateur boxing system. I've defeated the Cubans, the Germans, the Russians. I know boxing. I know what a scoring blow is and how to win a fight. I know when I lose a round and when I win a round. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I'm fair. I've always been fair to myself and to everybody else.

So for these judges to try to steal my world and my livelihood, and my credentials is asinine, man, and it should be corrected.

The commissioners need to go out and look at these judges ‑‑ like all three of those judges judging the Casamayor fight shouldn't be allowed to judge any more in boxing. Because they cheated that guy this past weekend.

And the Judging Commission needs to step up and start overturning some of these judges. Overturn it, use instant replay. Coming back and making the right decisions. Because these are people's livelihoods that they're affecting, and it's just not fair.

SANTIAGO: First and foremost, I'd like to say thank you to everyone. I'd like to thank everyone for this opportunity on December 1. I'm going to bring everything that I have, and we're going to put on a great show.

I know Antonio's going to come with his A‑game, and I'm going to come with mine. I want to thank everyone.

QUESTION: Antonio, any closing comments and what can you do in this fight not to make it close?

TARVER: That depends on who is judging (laughing). I don't think I can do anything to make a fight not close. My whole thing is I'm coming to seek and destroy. I'm ready. You understand me?

I'm not looking past Santiago, but I am looking through him. I'm ready to put on my show. I'm back. You understand me? I'm tired of being the nice guy, trying to play fair. They want to make me the bad guy, ain't anyone ever seen a bad guy like me. That is the role I'm accepting.

I'm the villain, and I'm the bogeyman, and I'm coming to Foxwoods to put on a show. I'm going to show you what type of a fighter I am. I'm going to show everybody else in the light heavyweight division that I'm taking over this game. And the next two years aren't going to be the same. You heard from the "Magic Man", baby, I'm out.

FORREST: I think it's a great card, fantastic card. We're looking forward to putting on a good show for SHOWTIME.

QUESTION: You put on a very impressive performance against Baldomir to win your second title. I was wondering if you could go through what's changed between your welterweight reign and your reign now as super welterweight? What seems to be the secret to your success?

FORREST: I wasn't as healthy as I was then. I'm just healthy again.

QUESTION: Healthy in what way?

FORREST: Well, physically, I had reconstructive surgery on my left arm between my shoulder, my left shoulder and my left elbow. I had three surgeries to repair it. Now I'm able to use it in a more effective way. I can use it within the context of how I fight, versus just trying to get through a fight. So basically it's just me getting healthy again.

QUESTION: I understand you had been using a lot of Cortisone as welterweight champion?

FORREST: Yeah, Cortisone masks the pain. So I would take Cortisone shots before training camp, and Cortisone shots after training camp and sometimes during because of the pain. I would take it just to block the pain so I was able to train. I needed it to train in a manner of what it takes to train for a world championship caliber fight.

Now with time and surgery, I'm healthy now and I'm able to do what I did. I can fight very cleverly, very effectively, and I know I'm one of the best out there.

QUESTION: Where are you guys now by the way?

PICCIRILLO: We are in Italy now.

QUESTION: When do you plan to come to the United States?

PICCIRILLO: We depart from Italy, Saturday, Nov. 24, seven days before the fight.

QUESTION: Michelle what are your thoughts on this fight? What are your thoughts on fighting Vernon Forrest and how training has been going?

PICCIRILLO: It will be a difficult fight, but it will also be difficult for Vernon. I'm in training and sparring with the same trainer I use for all my fights. I know it will be a difficult fight, but it will be a very good fight.

QUESTION: Do you feel as comfortable at 154 as you do at welterweight?

PICCIRILLO: It's nice to fight in the super welterweight. I changed the weight division because of my weight problem. I'm comfortable now at super welterweight.

QUESTION: Have you had to do any adjusting in your training not to re-injure your arm?

FORREST: Early on I was a little concerned about it. I'm not as concerned now because I know there are some things you do to catch on to see if it will hold up. I'm more comfortable now.

I think it's more of a mental thing than a physical thing. I'm more comfortable now knowing that I can use it effectively and not worry about re-injuring it again.

QUESTION: You've dominated a couple guys in boxing. You've dominated Moseley. But you lost to Mayorga. Can you tell us why that happened?

FORREST: Overconfidence.

QUESTION: Is it just the styles?

FORREST: People say styles make fights. And people use that term because they don't understand how a guy on paper, who appears to be a lesser guy, beats a better guy. So they say style makes fight, but what happens is he's really overconfident.

I didn't study the guy. Only thing I knew is he was the champion, and I wanted his belt. So I just went out there and didn't fight as a skilled fighter should, I just went out there and fought. Anybody can fight. But the best fighters use their skill and they're able to beat lesser guys.

I didn't do what I trained to do, which is to outbox him as opposed to just fighting him. He caught me before I caught him. In the second rematch I thought I won, and so did everybody that watched the fight. Sometimes you win and you make a decision to just move on.

QUESTION: Can you say that's not going to happen again? Are you really focused on each opponent now?

FORREST: Yes. My mother used to say a hard head makes a soft man, and I learned my lesson. It taught me a valuable lesson which is do what you're supposed to do. Do what you're trained to do. Do what you worked on doing, and everything will be okay.

I have every bit of confidence in my skill and my ability. I doubt if that will happen again. A guy beat me because he's better than me, not because I made a mistake.

QUESTION: Do you feel you're sort of in a late‑career blooming again? Do you feel you're getting back to that peak again at this stage in your career?

FORREST: Yes, people don't understand that I never retired. I never retired from fighting. I couldn't fight because of injury. I had fights I had to cancel because physically I wasn't able to perform. It makes no sense to get back into a room with world class fighters, and me fighting with one arm. It just didn't make sense.

So in terms of peaking and being in my prime, I've been there. I never left there. So when people say are you getting back there? I never left there. I'm healthier now than I was before.

QUESTION: Do you know much about your opponent? He's fought a couple times in the United States, but most of his fights have been in Europe. What do you know about him and what do you expect to happen?

FORREST: He's a very talented fighter. He's a former world champion. Any time you can win a world title, then that speaks volumes. He beat one of the best fighters out there in Corey Spinks. He's trained by one of the greatest fighters in history. He's a very well‑schooled fighter.

People don't understand. People are thinking that I have an easy fight. I don't have an easy fight. This is a very tough fight, and a very tough fighter. He fights similar to how I fight. So it's almost a mirror match.

I'm looking forward to putting on a spectacular performance. I know it's not going to be a gimme fight, but I'll be prepared for whatever he brings.

QUESTION: Most of your fights have been in Europe and this is in the United States. This is the latter stages of your career, what can we expect to happen against Vernon Forrest?

PICCIRILLO: I have no problem fighting in the United States. I've already fought here two times. He's fought in Europe. It will be a tough fight for me, but it will be a tough fight for Vernon.

I will come to put on a good performance, and I will try to win the fight. I have been training for this shot.

QUESTION: Is there anybody you've fought before that reminds you of Forrest?

PICCIRILLO: All the fighters I've fought have a different style. The only one that reminds me of Forrest is Michael Jones of England, but more for date than for the style. Forrest is a better boxer, but for date, the Michael Jones bout was little bit the same.

QUESTION: What would it mean to beat a guy like Forrest in the United States on SHOWTIME?

PICCIRILLO: It would be great because Vernon is a great champion. It would also be important because winning in the United States is not easy.

QUESTION: Do you need a knockout to win the fight or do you think you can win with a decision?

PICCIRILLO: I don't know. It depends on how the fight will be. I will find out in the ring.

QUESTION: Against Baldomir, it seemed you could do practically whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. Is that how you felt?

FORREST: The thing is when you're a skilled fighter, you know it. I know how to fight. I know my way around the ring. When you're on that level not only can I do what I want to do, I can make him do what I want him to do. That comes from a lot of hard work, being in the gym and around the gym, and watching a lot of tapes.

The same thing will happen in this fight. I pretty much know what this guy's going to do. He's a very, very skilled fighter. But you know we all have certain habits. I've studied his habits. In this fight, I'll make him do what I him want to do. And I'll make him do what I want him to do exactly same way I did with Baldomir.

QUESTION: Are you looking to just win this fight or win this fight impressively and make, perhaps, another statement?

FORREST: I'm always looking to make a statement. I'm always trying to look impressive. His style is completely different than Baldomir's style, so I have to fight him a different way. Hopefully, I'll look impressive in this fight as well.

QUESTION: Your buddy Mayorga is going to be fighting Fernando Vargas on SHOWTIME Pay‑Per‑View November 23rd. Would you like to fight Mayorga a third time?

FORREST: Absolutely. I've said that many times before. He is the only fighter that I feel that I have to fight again, and I have to beat to satisfy my career. There is no Mayorga without Piccirillo, though. I'm going to make sure I handle the business ahead of me come December 1. And whatever happens December 1 is fair game.

QUESTION: Would you be willing to fight him?

FORREST: Once we get past December 1.

QUESTION: Okay, I hear you. Vernon, you looked so impressive against Baldomir, I thought you were someone that might be able to give Floyd Mayweather some problems. Is that something you want to do if you get past Piccirillo?

FORREST: That's another fight I've been screaming about. I fought the best guy in the world at the time he was the best guy in the world, and I'm willing to fight Floyd at the top of his game. But the first order of business is Piccirillo on December 1.

Once we handle that business. All the questions of who I need to fight or want to fight or who is out there, I'll be will entertain those questions then. Right now out of respect and out of being focused, let me take care of my business with Michelle Piccirillo first.

QUESTION: Have there been any business discussions about and you Mayweather?

FORREST: I can't tell you that (laughing).

QUESTION: Maybe you just did.

PICCIRILLO: You listen to both fighters. We are two gentlemen. We don't talk that much about the fight. I think will be a great fight. And the best man will win. I will be ready, that is for sure.

FORREST: I'm looking forward to putting on a spectacular performance. Michele Piccirillo is a very, very worthy opponent. He's won the former Junior World Championship. I'm looking forward to putting on a spectacular performance come December 1.

Article posted on 14.11.2007



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